Reporter, author visits EMU to talk Detroit revival

Journalist and author John Gallagher visited Eastern Michigan University Tuesday evening to kick off the three-part lecture series, “The Future of Urban Michigan,” hosted by the Political Science department.

Gallagher is a veteran reporter at the Detroit Free Press where he co-wrote the award-winning enterprise story “How Detroit went broke” with EMU and Echo alumnus Nathan Bomey. He is also the author of two books about the future of Detroit titled “Reimagining Detroit” and “Revolution Detroit.”

“The idea was to get people thinking about urban development,” said Arnold Fleischmann, head of the political science department. “Some of our students might be out in the Detroit area after they graduate, and we want them to think and talk about what it might look like at that point.”

Gallagher spoke about his solutions for the future of Detroit in his lecture titled “Can We All Get Along? Detroit, the Suburbs and the State of Michigan Face an Uncertain Future.”

He said that Detroit “declined almost as quickly as it rose,” due to suburbanization and decline in demand for auto factories. He offered revivification solutions such as road dieting, land repurposing and restoration of creeks and rivers that have long been buried under the roadways.

Senior political science major Caitlin Bialowicz, who had read both of Gallagher’s books already, said she got a lot out of his lecture.

“He offered many solutions … I really respect him and his ideas,” she said.

Bialowicz thought Gallagher’s ideas are a good starting point.

“Some solutions to the problems [in Detroit] may be simplified – more simple than they actually are,” she said.

Gallagher felt it was important to talk to a group of college students about the future of Detroit because they are the ones who will be out there in the field, directing the change.

“They will be the ones out there … they are the future,” he said. “I think every generation is a little smarter than the one before.”

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